You are two months old today. You have made these past two months more memorable than you will ever realize. Unexpectedly, you were whisked off to another hospital on the morning we were supposed to be bringing you home. Your daddy and I watched helplessly as the transport team drew blood from your tiny veins and strung you up like a guitar with tubes. This was not the beautiful entrance into the world that we were hoping to give you. You accepted every poke and every prod with very little complaint. I cried more than you did.
Your grandparents, my mother and father, were our saving grace while you were in the NICU. They were the reason we could spend as much time by your bedside as we did. Your brothers were still in school and your grandfather made sure they got there and back when we were with you. Your grandfather made sure the boys were fed so I could make sure I was with you to feed you.
You were such a tiny girl to me, less than 7 lbs. Your little face was covered with tape to hold the oxygen tubes in your nostrils. It would be a couple more weeks before we saw your beautiful cheeks without tape. You always liked having your hands up by your face–we saw that in the many ultrasounds we had before you were born. You would bring your little hands up to your face and hold on to those tubes, threatening to pull them out. Sometimes you did pull them out. I was alright with that, hoping that you would show the staff that you didn’t need them.
You got worse before you got better. Your tiny lungs resisted the seven long days of antibiotics. You required more oxygen assistance than when you first arrived. I cried as I sung to you, holding your little body against mine, desperately trying to nurse you. The nurses needed to know how long you would nurse and I never really knew. You would get so tired. I tried so hard to help you drink, knowing that the threat of a feeding tube loomed if we were unsuccessful. I didn’t want you attached to another tube. It didn’t matter. They said you were too tired to drink properly and they would need to assist you, and the nurse put a tube in your nose through to your stomach.
It wouldn’t be long before you pulled it out. And another nurse came on shift and let me feed you again.
I practically lived at that NICU with you. Cuddling you. Expressing my milk into bottles for you so your daddy could feed you when I went home. Oh, your daddy is so in love with you. He worried about you. He held you and held you, hoping to bring you comfort in his safe arms. Listening to the doctors talk about you twice a day, hoping to convince them to spring you from your little hospital jail.
Almost two weeks passed like this. Your dad and I were there with you more than any other NICU parents that we noticed. Your direct neighbors were micro-preemies who would be in there for months. We remembered how blessed we were to have a full term baby as those babies monitors beeped endlessly and their mothers wept beside the isolettes.
Your first month was filled with lots of tubes and nurses and appointments, and ultimately so much love and compassion. You came home when you were fourteen days old. It was one of the best days of my life besides the days that you and your brother, J, were born.
Your second month, your dad and I decided to be a little… adventurous. We tested out how well you would breathe on your own. The doctor had cautioned us to keep you on oxygen at night, but the doctor didn’t understand how difficult it would be to keep the cannula in your nose when you would keep pulling it out.
The night we let you sleep without it was the best night of sleep you had until that day. Maybe it was time to let your body take control of itself and heal itself. We nervously left the oxygen tube off your face, bringing the oxygen canister with us, just in case you needed it. Soon enough, we were comfortable with letting you breathe on your own. Without oxygen being pumped into your lungs, you spit up less, proving that it wasn’t necessarily reflux making you gag and spit. It was the very thing the doctors were giving you to make you better that was causing you to cough up milk.
Unfortunately, we learned today on your two-month pulmonology follow-up that you still require oxygen at night for apnea. We are heart-broken, but will be more compliant. The oxygen may not heal you, but it will doubtlessly keep you breathing until your little body can do it on its own.
Just before you turned seven weeks old, we took you on your first vacation to Florida. You loved the beach and the gulf water. You got to meet your paternal grandmother who you were named after (you were named after both of your grandmothers, actually), your aunt and uncle and great-grandparents, too. Everyone loved you. Of course they did.
Your father and I decided to tie the knot on that vacation, too. I think you convinced him it was time. It was time to outwardly promise our commitment to one another and become one family instead of a mixed bag of a pseudo-family. I knew when I met your father I wasn’t ever going to let go of him. He is a good man, CG, and I know how lucky I am to have somehow earned his heart. I hope one day you find yourself in love with someone at least as good as he is. Our hope is that we give you a good example of what a healthy relationship looks like. What real love looks like.
Every day I look at your beautiful face and wonder how in the world your dad and I created something so beautiful. You are starting to smile now. I love your smile maybe more than I have ever loved anything else before. You smile with your whole face and it is magic. You love to be held more than anything else. We are trying to get you used to not being held as sadly, I have to return to work in a few weeks. Trust me, baby girl. I would never put you down if I didn’t have to. I wish I didn’t have to go back to work. I was blessed to be able to stay home with your brother J for more than two years. I wish I had the same opportunity, but unfortunately life is much different today. But I love you just as much!
CG, without even trying, you have changed all of our lives in an amazing way. You brought us together. You brought us closer. We all work together for you. You reminded us of the beauty of life. You have given us more to look forward to in the years to come. We all love you so much, sweet girl. I am sorry for the rough start you experienced, and I hope you have nothing but smooth sailing from here on out.
I love you,